Qing Ming Jie in China
Qing Ming Jie, also known as Tomb-Sweeping Day, is a traditional Chinese festival celebrated in China. In the local language, it is called 清明节. The festival usually falls on the 4th or 5th of April each year, depending on the solar terms. Specifically, Qing Ming Jie is observed on the 15th day after the Spring Equinox, which is either April 4th or 5th.
The celebration of Qing Ming Jie in China dates back to the Zhou Dynasty (1046-256 BC). The festival was initially established as a day to remember and honor ancestors, as well as to celebrate the onset of spring. It is said that the origin of Qing Ming Jie can be traced back to the ancient tradition of "Cold Food Day," which was a day dedicated to refraining from using fire to cook food in memory of a loyal subject named Jie Zitui.
National customs for Qing Ming Jie in China
During Qing Ming Jie, Chinese people across the country pay respect to their deceased ancestors by visiting their tombs and grave sites. Families clean the tombs, remove weeds, and make offerings of food, wine, incense, and joss paper. It is also common to burn paper money and other symbolic items for the deceased to use in the afterlife.
In addition to tomb-sweeping, Qing Ming Jie is also a time for people to enjoy the spring weather and appreciate the blooming flowers. Many people take advantage of the holiday to go on family outings, fly kites, and plant trees.
Local customs for Qing Ming Jie in China
While the national customs for Qing Ming Jie are observed throughout China, some regions also have their own unique traditions. For example, in the southern provinces of China, it is customary for people to carry willow branches and place them on the doors and windows of their homes to ward off evil spirits. In some parts of northern China, people eat a traditional dish called "cold food" or "Qingtuan" - a green glutinous rice ball filled with sweet bean paste - to commemorate the ancient "Cold Food Day" tradition.
Qing Ming Jie is an important Chinese festival rooted in the country's rich history and culture. It serves as a time for families to honor their ancestors, appreciate the beauty of spring, and partake in various customs and traditions. As a unifying event, Qing Ming Jie showcases the strong connection between the Chinese people and their cultural heritage.